Newsletter Oct 17th: Town Hall Follow Up

DS421 Town Hall Meeting Outcomes

Town Hall Discussion Groups

Thank you everyone who participated in the Town Hall last Friday. We made some major headway on these three issues. Here are the outcomes from our discussions. Even if you were not able to make it, your input is still welcome. 

1. Invited Speakers
Our economists got together and decided that our first invited speaker should be economist Michael Greenstone from U Chicago. Dr. Greenstone has been invited to speak at the ARE or ERG seminar. Ideally, we’d like to host him at Berkeley for a few days so everyone has an opportunity to meet with him. 

2. Student Leadership 
Students discussed a model of three volunteer representatives per cohort, per year. Two reps from each cohort will attend steering committee meetings, work on outreach and make other decisions. One social rep for each cohort will organize monthly social activities. Currently, Valeri and Jenna have volunteered for the steering committee reps for cohort 1; Clarke and Ansel for cohort 2.

*We still need 1 person from each cohort to volunteer for the social committee. 

3. Interdepartmental Immersion – *Action Items Below*

Students proposed that for the first 3 semesters, every DS421 student would be assigned a random “buddy” from their DS421 cohort in a different department (rotating each semester). This person would be the liaison to their department who can better recommend specific seminar topics/speakers that might be of most interest, clarify language/ideas, etc.

Cohort 2 has been assigned partners in Max’s symposium course. Cohort 1 has been assigned partners by Laurel, but some of the partners may not be in the program. *Please let me know if you need to be reassigned.

There was some discussion about the most practical and useful products. You have options.

1.) Write a short blurb about one of the events (a summary from your point of view, what you learned, any enlightening discussion that you had with your buddy afterwards, etc.) to share with other DS421 students. Those who want to can have their blurbs posted on the DS421 website as a public blog.


2.) Contribute at least one term to an interdisciplinary glossary of terms. Different disciplines have their own culture and language. For example, some thoughts on regression analysis from Dr. Ackerly

“Regression: In biology, we are often focused on explaining variance rather than estimating means, and sometimes we are not particularly concerned about the value of the slope. So we tend to focus on regression in terms of R2 and how much variance is explained. Alternatively, it can be presented as a conditional expectation of the mean. Regression could be presented as a solution to a linear model expressed in matrix algebra. When you’ve learned it one way, it’s not always obvious at first glance that you’re talking about the same thing when you see it another way.”

For more on the issue of the use of regression between economists and ecologists, see Armsworth et al. 2009.

***Please invite your buddy to 2 events in your department.
***Keep your eyes and ears peeled for new concepts, jargon and different uses of similar tools to share.
***Send at least one blurb or glossary entry to me by the end of the semester. 

Prep for Spring Project Course
*Cohort 1: During the spring project course, we will be working with our external partners on research projects with deliverables. To develop the course structure and pair your interests with our partners, please send me these items by Friday Oct 21st. 

1. Updated CV
2. Statement of interest (1 paragraph)
3. List of partners you may be interested in working with

RET Reports
*Cohort 1: Please turn in your final RET reports by the end of the semester. Besides the lightning talks, there should be a primary product, a one page report, and github repository. You can review the assignment information here.

* Save the Dates: 
January Workshop Dates
Cohort 1: Science Communication Workshop 
January 9th – 13th

Cohort 2: Software Carpentry Workshop
January 12th & 13th

Annual Retreat Date
All: May 1

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